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Disaster, Security, and Governance. MAGG Spring 2014 Bin Xu Assistant Professor Florida International University. Famine. Misconception about famine (Chapter 1) The common English use of the term: mass starvation unto death . Dramatic features.

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disaster security and governance

Disaster, Security, and Governance

MAGG Spring 2014

Bin Xu

Assistant Professor

Florida International University

  • Misconception about famine (Chapter 1)

The common English use of the term: mass starvation unto death

dramatic features
Dramatic features
  • A conventional template for famine reporting/images:
  • People must be starving to death.
  • Causes and solutions for the famine must be simplified.
  • The story must be told as a moral play with victims, heroes, and villains.
  • There must be images.
  • In other words, the famine story must be a simplified image of death with moral characters.
  • Three components (Chapter 5, 6, 7):
  • Hunger
  • Destitution
  • Death
  • Failure of subsistence grain production: long-decline and region-wide failure
  • The grain sold in the markets of Darfur only met no more than 10% of the region’s grain needs
  • Discrepancy between purchasing power and purchases: 1) no access to grain; 2) they chose not to eat grain
  • Questions: if people did spend money on grain, what did they spend it on? Why?
  • The affected kept their long-term priorities clear.
  • They struggled to preserve their way of life.
  • Biggest causes: health crisis (diarrhea, measles) instead of starvation to death
  • Hungerdestitution
  • Choosing to suffer from hunger in order to preserve their way of life and future
famine relief
Famine Relief
  • Outsiders’ superficial conceptions and exaggeration of mortality rate
general conclusions
General Conclusions
  • People’s principal aim during the famine was to preserve the basis of an acceptable future way of life, which involves not only material wellbeing but also social cohesion
famine in north korea
Famine in North Korea
  • Causes (introduction, Chapter 2-3)
  • Limited production capacity of grains (land, rural-urban ratio, and leaning toward heavy industry)
  • Pursuit of self-sufficiency
  • Reliance on the Soviet Union and China
  • Cutting commercial grain import and allocating the foreign exchange to military uses
famine in north korea1
Famine in North Korea
  • Distribution of aids
  • Breakdown of the Public Distribution System (PDS)
  • The tension between the NK government and the international aids agencies over monitoring issues